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Basic Mountaineering School (BMS)

Boulder Mountaineering School


The Basic Mountaineering School is an introduction to the wide variety of skills important in the mountains: navigation, trip planning, basic rock climbing and rope work, beginner and intermediate snow climbing, and survival essentials. The BMS program operates on the premise that many people who go into the mountains are not fully prepared to handle the situations in which they may find themselves. These situations may vary from a twisted ankle on a hike up Green Mountain, to navigating through a whiteout on James Peak, to doing an avalanche rescue on Mt. McKinley. The aim of the BMS program is to provide students with an introduction to the skills they will need as they continue to spend time in the mountains. These skills are introduced and practiced through lectures, field trips and additional rock and high peak climbs.

In addition to increasing their general level of preparedness for mountain activities, students who complete the course program will gain knowledge and practical experience in the use of technical equipment and protection systems designed to ensure safe passage of climbing teams over steep, hazardous mountain terrain. Remember, serious mountaineering requires additional skills, knowledge and experience beyond BMS. 

BMS Certification Requirements:

A certain level of participation is required from each student who wishes to graduate from the BMS program.  The certification program only has significance within the CMC and may allow you to participate in CMC trips (such as D/E classified trips) and advanced courses (such as HAMS or AMS) that require more advanced skills. The requirements are as follows:

  • Courses: Successful completion of all the series of courses offered by the Boulder Group associated with BMS program. This includes attending both lectures and field trips and demonstrating proficiency in all aspects of safety and checklist skills during the field trips. The schools associated with the BMS program of the Boulder Group include Hiking and Survival Essentials, Hiking Navigation, Basic Rock Schools, Basic Snow and Intermediate Snow. See Spring and Fall for when the next set of courses will be offered.
  •  Climbs: Completion of five climbs, including at least one multi-pitch rock climb and one high peak climb snow climb where the use of an ice axe is required and used. These climbs must be sponsored by the Boulder Group CMC. The other three climbs may be any CMC sponsored hike or climb. A BRS graduation climb may be used as one of the five climbs.  Please note that one “top-roping” trip may be counted as a rock climb, but not as the required rock climb. 
  •  Conservation Activity: Completion of one conservation activity approved by the Boulder Group. 
  •  First Aid Training: Hold current Standard First Aid and CPR cards (Red Cross or equivalent). 

Application for BMS Certification:

To apply for graduation from the BMS, each student must submit the following application. The application includes instructor names of the five required Boulder Group courses, a list of the five climbs and the conservation activity with trip leader names, and a copy of the student's current First Aid and CPR cards. So, students, please update the application as you complete your requirements.  Graduation certificates are awarded each fall at the Boulder Group Annual Dinner.

For more information, contact